The director of a government institute that employs various scientific geniuses commits a clever murder. But another kind of genius is on the case: Lt. Columbo.

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(teleplay by), (teleplay by) | 4 more credits »
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Dr. Marshall Cahill (as Jose Ferrer)
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Dr. Howard Nicholson
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Neil Cahill (as Robert Walker)
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Steve Spelberg (as Lee H. Montgomery)
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Margaret Nicholson
...
Ross
Arthur Batanides ...
Murph (as Art Batanides)
Darrell Zwerling ...
Motel Manager
Charles Macaulay ...
Farnsworth
John Zaremba ...
Coroner
William Bryant ...
Fields
...
Whitehead
Ed Fury ...
Plainclothesman
Jefferson Kibbee ...
Jeff
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Storyline

Dr. Marshall Cahill is the director of a government institute that employs various scientific geniuses, including the elderly Dr. Nicholson, who knows that Cahill's son Neil has plagiarized a dead man's theory of molecular structure. When Nicholson threatens exposure, Dr. Cahill murders him and cleverly makes the killing look like the job of a heroin junkie who needed his fix. But clever or not, another kind of genius is on the case: the rumpled, redoubtable Lt. Columbo. Written by J. Spurlin

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Release Date:

10 February 1974 (USA)  »

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(dvd release)

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(Technicolor)

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Screenwriters Steven Bochco and Dean Hargrove pay tribute to Steven Spielberg, who had directed Columbo: Murder by the Book (1971) earlier in the series: the boy genius character is called Steve Spelberg. See more »

Goofs

In the "home garage laboratory", there is a shelf of chemical containers marked with their respective formulas. The formulas are written incorrectly. See more »

Quotes

Neil Cahill: [about Columbo] I'm telling you, he thinks I did it.
Margaret Nicholson: I don't think he does. He's a lot wiser about people than he cares to show, or perhaps than we recognize.
Neil Cahill: He's a cop. He's gotta hang this on SOMEBODY.
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Connections

References Forbidden Planet (1956) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Confusing plot?
31 August 2007 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

I have just seen this for the first time in years and still love the unusual setting, the cheeky reference to 'boy genius' Stephen Spelberg and of course Robby The Robot.

But I cannot for the life of me fathom out why on earth someone as intelligent as the murderer Cahill (Jose Ferer) would give himself away by smoking a cigar just after killing the victim. An obvious giveaway and seemingly only included as a clue for Columbo to find.

And what was the point of the brandy glasses? Presumably Cahill was hoping to frame someone else but this point is never properly addressed. Anyone else have any theories?


5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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